PAC Data Entry

The hiring process begins with an open position and ends with onboarding the individual. When the candidate accepts the offer and the position is filled, employee's information must be entered into PAC - People@Columbia, the University's HR system.

Accurate data entry is important so the employee's job, tax, and payroll records are established and they can then enroll for benefits (if applicable) and receive paychecks, along with using other self-service features such as setting up direct deposit.

As part of the data entry process, also complete the Delegated Information Authority (DIA) steps to ensure the employee is provided a UNI. 

Hire Types, Entry Methods, and Supporting Information

In support of a safe and secure campus community, any applicant for a University position who receives a conditional offer of employment will undergo a background check. Rehires with a break in service of more than six consecutive months will also be required to undergo a background check.

A background check consists of a criminal record search (including the 50-state sex offender registry), education and employment verifications.

For more information, please see Background Checks. 

Drug Screenings: Some applicants will also be required to undergo drug testing, motor vehicle search or fingerprinting, depending on the nature of the position. Applicants for such positions will be notified of this requirement when an offer of employment is made.

The finalist must be cleared by your Senior HR Business Partner. Applicants are not permitted to begin working until both a "Pre-Offer Education and Employment Check" and a "Post-Offer Criminal Background Check" have been run and cleared.  Exceptions can only be approved in advance by the VP of Human Resources or his or her designee.

Key Actions

  • The finalist is selected by the school/department and cleared by your Senior HR Business Partner.
  • The Department then initiates a “Pre-Offer: Employment and Education” background check.
  • If the “Pre-Offer: Employment and Education” background check comes back as cleared, the Department makes an offer of employment to the candidate.
  • If the candidate accepts the offer, the Department initiates the “Post-Offer: Criminal Background Check.”
  • At this point, CUHR or CUIMC HR reviews the criminal report and notifies the school/department if the selected finalist has been cleared. In the case of a potentially disqualifying alert on the criminal background check, CUHR / CUIMC HR will initiate the adverse action process (see Background Check Guidelines for more information regarding the pre-adverse process). 
  • If the finalist is cleared by CUHR or CUIMC HR, the school/department can move forward with the hiring process.

See Columbia University Background Check Policy

Note: For more information regarding which positions require drug testing, motor vehicle department search, or finger printing, contact your designated HR Business Partner.

Hire Types

There are numerous categories of employees at the university and varying methods used to enter their data into PAC.

  • A new hire is someone who has never worked at the University.
  • A rehire is someone who was previously employed by the university and is returning to work at the university. Thus, considered a rehire and not a new hire.
  • A reappointment is a renewal of a term appointment for academic officers. For more information on academic reappointments, please visit the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Programs.

Administrative employees consist of many roles such as Officers of Administration and Support Staff employees who can be union or non-union and there can also be different types within each category, such as part-time or full-time. For a description of administrative hire types, visit the Staff Search Planning page.

Academic hires also consist of many roles such Officers of Instruction, Officers of Research, and Student Officers. For a description of academic hire types, please refer to the Faculty Handbook and The Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Search and Hiring. For information on the facilitation of policies and processes relating to academic personnel at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), visit the Faculty Affairs website.

Entry Methods

Template-Based Hire or TBH. TBH are PAC templates used to hire and rehire administrative and academic employees. There are exceptions to when these templates are used and this is further described below.

Student Appointment/Hire template in PAC is used to appoint student officers who have never been employed by Columbia (coming soon).

Visa/Contract Renewal module in PAC. This is used to reappoint active academic employees.

eRosters/Rosters. eRosters are spreadsheets in PAC used to reappoint off-cycle (non 7/1 effective date) academic employees. Rosters are spreadsheets manually gathered and then uploaded into PAC and used for both off-cycle and on-cycle (7/1 effective date) where eRosters and eComp are not used.

eComp is used to update on-cycle (7/1) faculty appointments and administrative salary changes on the Morningside campus. Rosters are used at CUIMC.

Paper Transactions module in PAC. Used when hiring someone into an additional job and for students who have a financial aid or work study profile and are thus active in PAC and TBH cannot be used. 

Template-Based Hire/Rehire (TBH) is a PAC module where new hire and rehire transactions are submitted through templates with the required documents attached. The salary distribution (funding arrangement) must be included to ensure that monies are charged to the correct funding arrangement and not to suspense. Any additional compensation payments can also be entered on the templates. Access the Salary Distribution Transactions and Additional Compensation Payments courses to learn how to allocate funding and set up additional compensation payments. 

Access to TBH requires the successful completion of the training courses as well as an approved PAC Security application requesting access. Access the PAC Template-Based Hires course to learn how to submit hire transactions using PAC templates.

There is a campus specific template per hiring type:

  • Hire-Academic: to hire new academic officers (Morningside).
  • Rehire-Academic: to rehire academic officers (Morningside).
  • Hire-Clinical: to hire new academic officers (CUIMC). Can either hold a clinical appointment or not.
  • Rehire-Clinical: to rehire academic officers (CUIMC). Can either hold a clinical appointment or not.
  • Administrative Hire: to hire all types of administrative staff (Morningside and CUIMC).
  • Administrative Rehire: to rehire all types of administrative staff (CUIMC and Morningside).

A student officer template to hire new student officers is coming soon.

Encryption software should be installed to ensure the security of Personally Identifiable Information (PII):

Employment instances where TBH is not used - submit the hire using the Paper Transactions module in PAC:

  • Students who are Teaching Assistants (TAs), Departmental Research Assistants (DRAs) or Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) who receive a stipend and have a Bursar/Financial Aid record in the Student Information Services (SIS) system. These students receive a PAC identity via the SIS feed which does not allow the TBH entry to be completed.
  • Students who are active in the Work Study system. These students receive a PAC identity via the Work Study feed which does not allow the TBH entry to be completed.
  • Retirees who are active in the system and have a PAC identity which does not allow the TBH entry to be completed.
  • US Citizens awaiting a Social Security Number (SSN). Non-US Citizens awaiting a social security number can be submitted via TBH.
  • People being hired with multiple jobs/appointments or those being hired into an additional job.
  • Academic personnel with stipends (postdoctoral research fellows and postdoctoral clinical fellows).
  • Academic personnel who are reappointed on rosters (as applicable when rosters are used).
  • Academic personnel going on leave immediately upon hire.

Paper Transactions

Paper forms are not accepted for new hires. There are rare circumstances where some hires/rehires and reappointments cannot be submitted directly into a PAC module or roster and the Paper Transactions module is used or the paper forms are scanned and provided to the HRPC.

Using the Nomination Form/New Hire PAF

  1. Access the Nomination Form / PAF or generate an Active PAF for the employee from the Employee Personal Information page in the Manager Self-Service section of People @ Columbia.
  2. Enter the action/reason codes and effective date at the top of the form (see the chart below)
  3. Complete the appropriate sections of the PAF, sign it, and submit it through the Paper Transactions module in PAC for approval, along with the required supporting documentation for the transaction. The list of required documents can be found in the Attaching Documents in TBH Job Aid.

Please refer to the How to Complete a PAF Job Aid for complete information on the fields required.

Action/Reason Codes (Academic and Administrative Hires and Academic Re-appointments / Administrative Rehires)

Refer to the Action Reason Codes chart for the applicable action / reason codes for an Academic or Administrative Hire and for an academic reappointment / administrative rehire. Enter these on the top of the PAF or Nomination form to indicate the purpose for the submission.

Academic personnel, except those with Tenure or Tenure of Title, can be appointment for no more than one year. Academic personnel can be reappointed either by eRoster/Roster or through the Visa/Contract Renewal module in PAC. A memo with information about processing rosters is provided by the Provost Office and sent directly to Departmental Administrators during the specific Spring, Summer, and Fall terms. 

The Visa/Contract Renewal module allows for the recording of updated visa information and reappointments for currently active academic personnel.


  • eRosters are spreadsheets in PAC used to reappoint off-cycle (non 7/1 effective date) academic employees.
  • Rosters are spreadsheets manually gathered and then uploaded into PAC and used for both off-cycle and on-cycle (7/1 effective date) where eRosters and eComp are not used.

Please reference the Faculty Handbook for additional information about academic hires.

Visit Conducting a Staff Search to view offer letter templates for administrative hires.